Holy basil holds a lot of significance in Indian culture. Here is a detailed guide on How to Grow Most Prolific Tulsi Plant!
Renowned as the Queen of Herbs, Tulsi is an aromatic plant and holds religious significance in India. Many studies also show that it is highly nutritional and offers plenty of health benefits. To know all about How to Grow Most Prolific Tulsi Plant, keep on reading the article!
Botanical Name: Ocimum tenuiflorum
Other Names: Tulsi Patra, Sri Tulasi, Shyama Tulsi, Sacred Basil, Sacred Purple Basil, Patrapuspha, Parnasa, Red Holy Basil, Tulsa, Ocimum tenuiflorum, Manjari, Krishna Tulasi, Kemangen, Kala Tulsi, Indian Basil, Hot Basil, Brinda, Basilic Saint, Baranda, Bai Gkaprow, Ajaka, Albahaca
Check out our article on homemade pesticides for Tulsi plant here
What is a Tulsi Plant?
Native to the Indian subcontinent, Tulsi is an aromatic perennial, which people grow for religious and medicinal purposes, especially for the essential oil. It is also known as Holy Basil and features hairy stems and simple petiole with oval-shaped green, purple leaves. It has a spicy taste, strong fragrance, and blooms tiny, tubular flowers.
Importance of Tulsi Plant in Hinduism
Tulsi holds a vital significance in Hinduism and most Hindu households grow a Tulsi plant in the courtyard, worship it and use its leaves in religious rituals. In Hindu mythology, Tulsi is very close to Lord Vishnu and ceremonially wedded every year on the 11th bright day of Karttika month. Holy basil is also believed to be an incarnation of a princess who fell in love with Lord Krishna and was cursed by Radha for the same reason.
Varieties of Tulsi in India
Though there are over 100 hundred varieties of Tulsi, these three are the most popular ones in India.
1. Krishna Tulsi
Also known as Purple Leaf Tulsi, Krishna Tulsi features purple leaves, dark stems and has a crisp, peppery taste. It takes more time to grow as compared to other varieties of Tulsi and prefers rich soil to thrive well. The plant is also very useful in treating respiratory infections, insomnia, indigestion, ear pain, and skin problems.
2. Rama Tulsi
Rama Tulsi or Green Leaf Tulsi has a cool, mellow flavor and found mainly in Brazil, India, Nepal, and China. It is the most aromatic and medicinally beneficial variety of Tulsi. Its antibacterial properties help fight against different types of skin infections and also improves the immunity of the body.
3. Vana Tulsi
Native to India, Sri Lanka, and Africa, Vana Tulsi is another popular variety cultivated for its religious and medicinal uses. It improves immunity and helps in lowering cholesterol levels. Its other names are Clove basil, Holy basil, East Indian Tree Basil, and African Basil.
How to Grow Most Prolific Tulsi Plant
Just sow the seeds in a pot with well-draining soil. Keep it at a sunny spot and the seeds will germinate in 1-2 weeks.
Snip off 4-6 inches of stem cutting from an existing tulsi plant and remove all its flowers and leaves from the bottom. Place the cutting in a glass container and keep it at a place where it can receive atleast 6-8 hours of bright, indirect sunlight. Remember to change the water regularly to avoid rotting of the root. Once roots form, transplant the cutting to a pot.
Growing Requirements for Tulsi Plant
Tulsi thrives well in full sun and prefers 4 to 6 hours of sunlight every day. You can grow them outside year-round in India due to the warm, humid, and ideal growing climate.
The plant needs regular watering to thrive well. Water when the top layer of soil is dry to touch. Also, these sacred plants don’t need watering in the rainy season. Avoid overwatering as it can cause falling of the leaves and attract pests.
A well-draining, loamy, and fertile soil is best to grow tulsi plants. You can also add soil mulch to control weed, maintain moisture, and regulate temperature fluctuations.
Tulsi Plant Care
Though the plant does quite well in normal soil, without the need for fertilizer, you can boost the growth using a balanced liquid fertilizer every two months.
The growth of the plant is controlled while growing in a pot. As Indians use the leaves daily for religious significance, there will be no need to prune the plant. However, if you have grown the plant in a garden, then its growth can get quite bushy. In that case, you can prune the plant according to your needs.
Pests and Diseases
Holy basil is not prone to serious pests or plant diseases. In some exceptions, it can attract minor pests that can easily be eliminated with pesticides. You can also use neem-based fertilizer to stay organic.
Harvesting Tulsi Plant
Start harvesting tulsi leaves once the plant reaches 1 foot (12 inches) in height. Being a perennial, you can harvest the aromatic leaves throughout the growing season. You can also store them after drying in sunlight, or crush and turn them in powder form.
Benefits of Tulsi Plant
Tulsi plant has high nutritional value and comes loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. Here are some useful health benefits, this medicinal plant offers.
- It is a natural adaptogen and helps in reducing anxiety and stress
- The anti-bacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties of Tulsi helps in fighting against infections and heal wounds
- It helps in lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels in diabetic patients
- Protects the stomach from infections by decreasing stomach acids and increasing mucus cells
Tulsi Plant Uses
Including tulsi in your daily diet is a brilliant way to stay fit and active. You can do this in the following ways.
- Prepare herbal tea with fresh leaves as it is effective in treating cough, cold, fever, and flu.
- Season the curries with tulsi leaves to add a crisp, peppery flavor.
- Use tulsi extract in water as it improves immunity and helps the body fight against different types of illnesses.